One man died and two other people, including a 12-year-old boy, were injured in a shooting at a Starbucks in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood Thursday night, according to officials and witnesses.
A man, 28, was dead at the scene after the shooting about 8:10 p.m. at the Starbucks, 4753 N. Broadway, at Lawrence Avenue, according to police. He was identified as 28-year-old Sauvignon Watkins, according to family and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
A 12-year-old boy suffered a gunshot wound to the groin and was being treated at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, where he was listed in good condition, police said. The second man, 24, was shot in the left side and taken in serious condition to Advocate Illinois Masonic Hospital, police said.
It was believed the shooting happened after a drug deal gone awry, Chicago police Town Hall District Cmdr. Marc Buslik said at the scene about 10 p.m. The slain man and the shooter apparently were involved in a transaction at Wilson Avenue and Broadway, after which the victim ran into the Starbucks.
The attacker, who wore dark clothing and a mask, followed and opened fire, hitting the man. The second man and the boy were also shot while the attacker was aiming at him, Buslik said.
The suspect was still at large, he said.
Relatives at the scene say Watkins was known for his sense of humor and lighthearted personality.
He lived in the 1100 block of East 82nd Street in the Avalon Park neighborhood on the city’s South Side, according to the medical examiner’s office. He was pronounced dead at 8:17 p.m. Thursday.
The father of two children, ages 1 and 2, Watkins was known to goof around and jump with kids in the family in a bouncy house. Even when teased about his name, he played along, responding, “Oui, oui.”
“He never ceased to make me laugh about something every single day,” said his mother, Shawn Adams, 49. “I just loved to listen to his stupid anecdotes or whatever to make me laugh.”
“This is just the one thing I prayed would never happen,” she said.
Relatives arrived at the scene worried that the victim dead at the scene could be Watkins. Their fears were confirmed when they walked closer and, like others, saw his feet near the windows. They recognized his shoes and jacket, said his godmother Renda Harris, 48, of Woodlawn.
“He’s been in there for hours and there’s nothing we can do about it,” she said.
“At this point we just want to see our baby so we can start processing this. Not being able to see his face is just so devastating. It’s so hard picturing him … facedown in his own blood.”
Earlier, through the shop’s windows along Lawrence, the slain man’s body could be seen lying on the floor. Police moved reporters and camera operators kitty-corner from the Starbucks as they continued to canvass the scene.
Bryan Stroud, 52, of Ravenswood, had just been at the Starbucks when he stepped outside to say hello to a friend. In a matter of moments, they saw a man wearing a black mask enter the coffee shop and unload a small-caliber handgun.
“He walked right in the store and just shot three people,” Stroud said. “We were a little afraid. He could’ve come out and started shooting the crowd. Somebody went off the deep end.”
In the aftermath, patrons and bystanders scrambled away. At one point, people carried the wounded boy and solicited a passing motorist to rush him to the hospital.
“They said, ‘He’s only a baby! Get him to Weiss (Memorial Hospital)!’” Stroud said, quoting someone who was with the boy.
The shooting left witnesses, including Stroud, rattled. An employee at the register locked her hands behind her head as she spoke to an officer.
At one point, a woman ran up to the scene and tried to duck under police tape until officers stopped her. She was later seen crying as she yelled, “Oh my God!”
Kendra Nance, 26, said she was walking with her boyfriend when she heard four gunshots. The couple continued walking and saw two men shot inside. Another man was hunched over the second victim, who was lying on his side, bleeding, near bar stools in the coffee shop.
“There was blood everywhere,” Nance said. “I had never seen a dead body, so my boyfriend tried to calm me down.”
“He wasn’t breathing,” she continued. “He was just lying there … .”
The shooting took place in a bustling area near the Lawrence station of the CTA’s Red Line and popular entertainment venues the Green Mill jazz club and the Riviera Theatre.
In an online statement Thursday night, Starbucks said it was “dismayed” to learn of the shooting and is cooperating with investigators.
“The store will be closed tomorrow morning (Friday) as we focus on our local store partners, ensuring they have the support they need,” the statement said. “We will continue to support law enforcement in their investigation.”
(Chicago Tribune’s Elyssa Cherney contributed.)
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